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10 Mar 2009 16:41
Leading cricket commentators have blocked suggestions of ringing in major changes to the Proteas squad following the two home crushing losses to Australia.
The Aussies have outplayed the Proteas in just about every facet of the game on their way to a two-series lead in the three Test series. Inspired by some incredible pace bowling from Mitchell Johnson, Australia romped to a 162-run victory in the first Test, before they sealed the series with a crushing 175-run massacre in Durban this afternoon.
Besides the broken finger, Graeme Smith has little proof of having led his disappointing charges in the futile battle to wrest the number one ranking from Ricky Ponting and his troops.
In just three weeks the Proteas have seen their historic 2-1 victory down under pale into insignificance under a surprising Aussie backlash.
However, former Proteas captain Kepler Wessels and fellow Supersport commentator Mpumelelo “Pommie” Mbangwa have called for some respite for a South African team that has claimed the scalps of Pakistan, England, India and Australia in less than two years and did set up a challenge for the world top spot.
“We have got to give credit to the Aussies for the way they have played.
They prepared very well for this series and are deserving winners,” said Wessels
“However, it is important not avoid pressing the panic buttons.
Mbangwa echoed the same sentiments: “As a supporter it is difficult to come to terms with the loss, but we have to face up to the fact that the Australians did their homework and executed it with finesse.”
The former Zimbabwe Test player acknowledged that, like everybody else, he was surprised at the turn of events.
“I honestly never expected the Aussies to play as well as they did. Just how good the Australians have been here has totally surprised me. Mitchell has been going like a dream in a complete reversal of roles with Steyn in Australia,” he said.
Mbangwa believes that beating Australia was the highest point for Smith and his men. “It can take a lot out of the players.”
Wessels said the Aussies should not have been underestimated on the strength of the Proteas win in Australia.
“We won there [Australia], but the games were very close at all times. South Africa had to dig dip while the Aussies failed to capitalise at critical times,” he said.
These established voices in the sport also concurred that South Africa should have braced themselves for a combined six matches, not three away and the other three at home.
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